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Brood XIII Magicicada Nymphs Found!

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Brood XIII Magicicada Nymphs Found!

Magicicada Nymph

Being here in Chicago attending a trade show doesn't leave a whole lot of time to go out to look for signs of the upcoming Brood XIII Magicicada emergence. Staying here in Willowbrook and driving approximately an hour both ways to and from downtown Chicago makes for a very long day. It should be mentioned that I'm not that far from downtown Chicago, it's the horrendous traffic on I55 in the morning and the evening that's the killer. Funny thing is, you figure the closer you get to downtown Chicago the worse the traffic should get. Nothing could be further from the truth. Today, when I got closer to Lake Shore Drive where I55 ends, the traffic cleared up!

Also, to make things worse, it was really pouring-down rain today and quite cool. This is probably a good thing since Magicicada nymphs don't really like the wet all that much. The wet soil seems to facilitate the construction of mud chimneys in order to help them stay dry. Some researchers also think that drenching rain may actually "speed up" their pre-determined emergence time.

I did manage to go out after I got back to the hotel in Willowbrook to have a look around. I went approximately 5 miles from the hotel to a place called Red Gate Woods Forest Preserve in Cook County. It is on Route 171 North just across the Sanitary Drainage and Ship Canal. Yeah, I don't like the way that sounds either but it is what it is.

There is some history here at Red Gate Woods at least according to Wikipedia. This area is the first site of Argonne National Labs as well as the site of the world's first nuclear reactor. How's that for a little bit of history for you?

Magicicada mud holesI managed to have a walk around in the woods around 6:30 pm this evening. With the rain coming down, I wasn't able to stay out all that long because it was getting dark rather early making it very hard to see. At first I didn't notice anything unusual except the over-abundance of mosquitoes which seem to enjoy the rain. I was getting eaten alive.

Magicicada nymph Brood XIIII decided to turn over a wet log and noticed these mud chimneys (click the thumbnail to the left) with very large holes in the center. At first I wasn't quite sure if these were Magicicada-related but then I turned over another log and discovered several Magicicada nymphs in passageways just below the surface of the soil. I discovered approximately 5 nymphs under this one log.

Observing their behavior, I noticed one striking thing. When I turned over this particular log the Magicicada nymphs seemed to come and go from their emergence holes. It would seem to me that these holes are both used for entering and exiting.

Well, this ends my pre-investigation. It was fortuitous that I was able to attend the trade show in Chicago this early to get sort of a prelude to this years emergence. I'll be back in less than two weeks!

I could write more, but I'm pretty tired and have to get up early so enjoy the rest of these pictures. I did manage to discover several other Mud Chimneys in the short time I as out in the woods.

Date Posted: 2007-05-15 Comments: (0) Show CommentsHide Comments


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